Perhaps the greatest and most dangerous conceit of human beings in general and progressives in particular is the notion that apart from the natural physical world, everything else that exists is pretty much a human construct. From human nature to gender identity to social institutions such as marriage and the family, progressives believe we constructed it all. And since we constructed it all, they also believe, we can surely reconstruct it all whenever and however we see fit. Nowhere is this way of thinking more evident than in the push for legal and moral sanction of same-sex marriage.
To progressives and other proponents of same-sex marriage, marriage is nothing more than a man-made institution arising for the benefit of partriarchal societies out of a time when women were subjugated to men. That marriage may be something that arose naturally out of the way males and females are designed (design in nature, of course, being something that progressives reject) both sexually and psychologically is laughable from their point of view. That redefining marriage to include same-sex couples might be detrimental both to the institution itself and to the culture at large they find equally laughable.
But their defense of same-sex marriage rests largely on the grounds of fairness and the notion that the only qualification necessary for marriage is that two people love each other. In their lengthy article, What is Marriage, published in the Winter 2010 issue of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Robert George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan Anderson show why those defenses don’t hold up. George, et al., argue that the first step in making a case either for or against same-sex marriage is clarifying what exactly marriage is. They make a compelling case (sans religion) for why marriage is intrinsically a union of a man and a woman.
Several writers have attempted to respond to the George, et al. article, and Matt Franck traces the debate thus far on his Marriage Debate Update post on the Bench Memos blog at National Review Online. It’s well worth reading in full both the George, et al. piece and their response to the critics.